Recommended for ages 8-12
A beloved sixth grade teacher announces that she’s unable to finish the school year; she’s very sick and needs to be hospitalized. Topher, Steve, and Brand are three students who know just how special Ms. Bixby is come up with a plan to give her the best last day with her students. They cut school, make a specific list of supplies to acquire, and make their way to the hospital.
Each chapter is narrated by one of the boys, and switches between the boys’ journey to the hospital and the stories each boy has about Ms. Bixby and her impact on their lives.
I fell in love with this book. Impossible to put down, it’s honest, heart-breaking, and inspiring, all at once. Each boy’s story draws on experiences that many kids will recognize either in their own lives or a close friend or family member’s life. Knowing that there are teachers like Ms. Bixby out there may help kids seek out an adult they can trust with their own personal challenges, even if it’s just another ear to listen.
Warning: this is quite possibly a three-tissue read. It’s an emotional and powerful read, but it is about grief and loss, so be prepared for that. This is an excellent choice for middle grade readers and collections. I’d put this on a booktalk list with reads like The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern and Donna Gephart’s Death by Toilet Paper.